Monday, March 5, 2012

The 10 Positives to Formula Feeding

“Happiness is not something ready-made.  It comes from your own actions.”- Dalai Lama
I’ve kept a journal since I was about 12 years old.  I find journaling to be very therapeutic and it has helped me through some challenging times.  I also journal when I am happy as well.
I would like to share one of my journal entries with you, entitled The 10 Positives.  As some of you may know, I had a breast reduction when I was 18 years old, long before starting a family was even on my mind.  I knew that I would possibly have trouble breastfeeding and I prepared myself for that while I was pregnant.  I met with lactation consultants and did as they instructed and I also bought a $200 Medela electric breast pump. 
On a good day I produced very miniscule amounts, even with the breast pump.  Eventually, the emotional toll of not being able to breast feed Calista caught up with me.  I’ll be honest: a contributing factor to feeling emotionally drained was related to some of the snide, rude and uncalled for comments I heard from people about formula.  I called one person out on her attitude and she apologized for her comments.
I really struggled emotionally with the fact that I was not able to feed my daughter the way nature intended.  Yes, I did it to myself but I was also 18 years old and suffering from severe back pain at the time.  I’m still very happy with my decision to have the breast reduction when I did and I don’t regret it for one moment, even with the issues that came 10 years later.
Breast is best, we all know that but for a number of reasons, some moms are just not able to breastfeed or choose not to in some cases.  Who are we to judge others?  My husband and close friends and family supported me and their support eventually outweighed everyone else’s comments. 
One day I woke up and I all of a sudden I felt 100% better about Calista being formula fed.  It was as if all of the stress I had been carrying with me was lifted off my shoulders while I slept.  I wrote the below entry in my journal to finalize myself coming to terms with what the future had in store for us.  The 10 Positives is my personal list and I’m sharing it with you so that other moms who are in a similar situation as I once was may feel some peace and move on to their next chapter.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am happy that Calista is formula fed.  Being happy is just simply better then feeling some random, negative emotion all the time.  I will no longer compare myself to others and allow the comments and opinions of others to define how I feel.  Since when did I really care about what others thought anyways?  I refuse to allow this situation to create any more stress in my life.  There are going to be countless situations over the years to come that won’t go as I have planned and as I’ve always done, I have to continue to go with the flow.  I always find a way to come out on top in even the crappiest of situations and this is no different. Here are my Top 10 Positive reasons why I’m happy that Calista is formula fed:
Positive number one: Darcy and Calista can spend as much time together as they want and I don't have to be with them.  There has been some good solid bonding going on with them since she had her first feeding (a bottle) from him right after she was born.
Positive number two: I can go to the gym and not feel rushed because it's almost time for Calista to eat.  I did feel rushed the first time I went to the gym but that was because I was away from my daughter.  Missing Calista is a completely different issue that has nothing to do with her needing to eat.
Positive number three:  I don't need to wear ugly nursing bras.  I've seen some really nice printed ones at boutiques but unless you want to shell out a lot of cash, you're stuck wearing old lady looking bras.  Those went out the window after my breast reduction.
Positive number four: My nipples aren't chapped and my breasts don't hurt.  They're readily available too should there be some free time to play.
Positive number five: I can be surprised with reservations to my favorite sushi restaurant for dinner.  Darcy is super awesome with surprising me!  There are no worries about not having frozen breast milk on hand for the Grandparents to give Calista.  A can of formula and a couple clean bottles and we’re out the door!
Positive number six: Unfortunately society is really closed minded and not everyone is open to a woman breast feeding her baby in public.  So by bottle feeding Calista, those people who would have stared or said something to me have been spared the wrath of Christina.  Regardless of how you feed your baby, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.  Society and people are crazy!
Positive number seven:  I can get together with my friend and enjoy a bottle of wine over great conversation.  I don't have to worry about passing the alcohol on to Calista.  I can also eat what I want to and not worry about certain foods not siting well with Calista.
Positive number eight: Formula fed babies eat less often than breastfed babies so pretty much right from the beginning, I didn't lose as much sleep as I thought I was going to.  Plus when Darcy is able to, he can feed her allowing me to get some extra rest.  With the exception of a few pockets of nights here and there, sleep deprivation caused by Calista has never really been an issue.
Positive number nine: As much as I love watching Calista grow and develop, I'm looking forward to her being an older baby.  I'm comfortable with her but I'm even more comfortable when babies reach the 5-6 month mark.  I know I'm not alone in this thinking because my friend said that for her second child, she wants to give birth to a one year old and skip the whole newborn and infant stage (I later learned more about Postpartum Depression and discussed the issues more with this friend.)  With Calista being formula fed, Darcy and I have been able to share every single responsibility and that in turn makes life easier for me.
Positive number ten:  Not that I've done this yet, but if I want to go see a movie by myself such as the new Julia Roberts movie Eat Pray Love, I'm able to.  I can even stop and get my brows waxed on the way to the theater; something that needs to be done actually.  Not that I've done this yet either, but I can sit in a coffee shop by myself and just zone out.  When I have time to myself, I can actually enjoy the time because there's no reason to rush...other than the fact that I'm away from my daughter but like I said, that's a whole other issue.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been to a lot of coffee shops and movies by myself since writing that journal entry but I still haven’t seen Eat, Pray, Love.  More importantly, Calista is a healthy, vibrant and happy 20 month old.  I’m very happy too! 
Often times it is difficult to find the positive in a negative situation.  We look and we search for something good but just can’t find it.  I believe that it is because we need to create our own positivity and happiness instead of just looking for it.  We need to be proactive in our game of life.  You are rolling your own dice, not anyone else.
Are you going through a challenging time?  What are your Top 10 Positives?  Create them!

This article was written by our guest blogger, Christina. She is currently a SAHM to an adorable 20 month old. The views and opinions are of our guest bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of momstown.

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